Friday, June 3rd, 2016 – Detroit City FC 2 FC Buffalo 1
Sunday, June 5th, 2016 – Detroit City FC 0 FC Buffalo 0
Rust Belt Derby is Detroit’s for the fourth consecutive year. If Cleveland’s childish owners continue to keep the RBD from returning to its original format by refusing to schedule friendlies against City, I move that their 2012 nameplate be removed from the trophy and cast into any random sewer grate. I await their response…
…or maybe not.
On a different note, I’m particularly upset that Friday night’s game wasn’t streamed since it included the Goal of the Year so far: Tommy Catalano’s volley off of a cross from Cyrus Saydee. Speaking of goals:
Extremely Brief Midseason Review
Attack It hasn’t been terrible (7 goals in 4 league matches), but no striker has emerged as a go-to guy to this point. Javi Bautista may be the best bet moving forward; he had an excellent performance against FCUM, scoring a goal, and looks to finally be healthy after a few weeks on the bench. Also, Jordan Kalk made his first appearance of the season on Sunday at Buffalo. He gives the team another speedy, dangerous option up top.
The most consistent attacking threats have been Jeff Adkins and Alec Lasinski, who’s following Troy Watson’s 2015 path of “come out of nowhere, play a lot, and look good doing it.”
Defense Solid in the run of play, shaky on set pieces. Seb Harris has been having his best season with City, Omar Sinclair has quietly become a rock solid centerback, and Matt Nance has returned from injury to bolster the fullback depth. The biggest problems have come on corners and crosses, which will need to be ironed out if the team is to make the playoffs, much less make a deep run.
A good amount of responsibility for these plays falls on the goalkeepers. Nate Steinwascher is the clear-cut #1 until Cody Lang shows up, and maybe even afterwards. Joe Smith and Robbie Beckwell have gotten ample playing time in the recent friendlies, and it’s evident that neither are quite ready to step into the starting role for City this early in their careers.
The Road Ahead Tricky but navigable. The table currently looks like this:
This weekend is the most important two-game set of the season. It includes the longest remaining road trip on a day and time which could seriously affect player availability (Grand Rapids, 7:45 pm, Friday) and a home match against Lansing, always a difficult opponent.
From there, the next two weekends look much easier – home against Kalamazoo on the 19th and home again on the 25th to face Dayton. Anything less than six points here would be a big disappointment.
City might not have to run the table to finish in the top 2, but they’ve given themselves plenty of work to do over the next month and change. With the Open Cup and Keyworth’s re-opening behind them, there are no reasons for their total focus to be anywhere but the Great Lakes West. Unless something wild happens, I don’t see the conference being decided until the very last weekend of the season. Every team besides Dayton looks to have at least a reasonable shot at making the playoffs, and with their depth of talent, I still fully expect City to be one of them.